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About Us » Writers » Chris Ralph
Chris Ralph (Associate Editor)
Chris had been writing articles for us for about four years before officially joining the staff in January 2008.

Chris has worked for precious metal mining companies conducting both surface and underground operations, and has a degree in Mining Engineering from Nevada's Mackay School of Mines.

He is an individual prospector who has been searching the hills of California and Nevada for many years, finding some nice gold and gems on many occasions.

Chris is based in Reno, Nevada, where he lives with his wife and two kids.

He can be reached at PO Box 3104, Reno, Nevada, 89505.

Email Chris Ralph

Articles by Chris Ralph
Ask the Experts: Big rocks or small cobbles?

January 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 5)
Ask the Experts: Quartz rock and the chance of gold in my area of New Hampshire?

January 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 5)
Ask the Experts: Equipment and gold locations in Colorado

January 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 5)
Ask the Experts: Silent partners and mining—is it worth the risk?

January 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 5)
Sierra County Gold—Part II

...we will continue our examination of the rich streams and mining districts, and then take a look at some of the big nuggets that have been found here.

January 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 5)
Alternative Gold Leaching Methods

The ideal leaching chemical would leave behind what we don't want or need in the ore and take only the valuable metals.

January 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 5)
Ask the Experts

Shaker tables and jigs

February 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 6)
Ask the Experts

Marketing other minerals recovered while gold mining

February 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 6)
Ask the Experts

Email scams

February 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 6)
Ask the Experts

What is the ceramic-like material embedded with gold?

February 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 6)
Eolian Gold Deposits

Prospectors who specialize in electronic detecting for nuggets in desert areas are especially interested in this type of deposit, as it yields nuggets that are close to the surface of the ground...

February 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 6)
Critical Metals: Lithium

Prospecting for lithium deposits can take a number of different directions, because this metal can be extracted from a variety of geologically differnet sources.

February 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 6)
Ask the Experts

Breaking cemented gravels

March 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 7)
Ask the Experts

Gold out of auqa regia

March 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 7)
Ask the Experts

NOI or POO for small backhoe

March 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 7)
Ask the Experts

Gold in Minnesota?

March 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 7)
Twenty-Five Gold Indicators You Should Know

I frequently get asked, "What should I look for when I am out prospecting that will tell me there are good amounts of gold present in the ground?"

March 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 7)
Natural Gold Alloys

Natural gold is never 100% pure; all natural nuggets contain at least some impurities. We're going to take a look at just what some of those impurities might be.

March 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 7)
Ask the Experts

Bismuth oxide for assaying?

April 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 8)
Ask the Experts

Magnetometers explained

April 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 8)
Ask the Experts

Relationship between limestone and gold

April 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 8)
Ask the Experts

Buying a turquoise claim

April 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 8)
Ask the Experts

Frogs' extinction from fungus

April 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 8)
Ask the Experts

Bad advice from Fish & Game

April 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 8)
Mining for Gold and Sapphires in Montana

Fascinated by the sapphires—and the gold that occured with them—he was soon buying parcels of property and setting up his own commercial-scale gravel processing plants.

April 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 8)
Gold Deposits of the Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast has considerable gold reserves, and this nation has the largest area of greenstone belts prospective for gold in the continent.

April 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 8)
Ask the Experts

How do mines and refiners deal with doré bars?

May 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 9)
Ask the Experts

Gold and silver in Pennsylvania

May 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 9)
Ask the Experts

Setting up a gravity dredge

May 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 9)
Ask the Experts

Sampling and mining a historic mining claim

May 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 9)
Critical Metals: Zinc

In this article, part of an ongoing series taking a look at critical metals in our economy, we will examine the mining and use of the metal zinc.

May 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 9)
Round Mountain, Nevada

There are a number of veins in the disseminated mineralization, but the principle ones on Round Mountain are known as the Los Gazabo and the Keane.

May 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 9)
Ask the Experts

• Building a jaw crusher

June 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 10)
Ask the Experts

• Can you explain a jig, Ainlay bowl, hammer mill?

June 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 10)
Ask the Experts

• Reopening closed areas

June 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 10)
Ask the Experts

• Recovering platinum

June 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 10)
Ask the Experts

• How many parts per million make a project viable?

June 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 10)
Ask the Experts

• Gold in West Virginia?

June 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 10)
Silver and Base Metal Deposits of the Pioche District

The areas that were mineralized with the bedded ore were huge and vast tonnages were indicated, although they had no idea at the time.

June 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 10)
Protecting Our Access to Public Lands

As prospectors, we cannot just roll over and continue to ignore the shift in public land management from multiple use to national preserve.

June 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 10)
Ask the Experts

What to do with black sands

July 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 11)
Ask the Experts

Bacterial gold

July 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 11)
Ask the Experts

Can I treat a sample with muriatic acid?

July 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 11)
Swing and a Miss

A very good baseball hitter might get a hit roughly one time out of every three at-bats, but for prospectors often the results are much sparser and it may take many trips before the prospector hits a home run.

July 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 11)
Gold Recovery with Centrifugal Bowls

Centrifugal bowls are very efficient, and with proper operation they can consistently achieve gold recoveries above 95% with gold of about 50 mesh size.

July 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 11)
Ask the Experts

What are the tell signs of garnet deposits?

August 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 12)
Conductive Minerals and Your Metal Detector

...most prospectors don't even think about the conductivity of minerals, but there are some that do conduct electricity to a certain degree, so metal detectors will respond to them.

August 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 12)
BLM Raises Location and Claim Fees

The Bureau of Land Management announced an increase in location filing fees and annual maintenance fees for unpatented mining claims, mill sites and tunnel sites.

August 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 12)
Sniping for Drought Gold

There are not a lot of tools needed to get out and take advantage of the situation. Other than my wetsuit, I typically travel light with a gold pan, maybe a pry bar and a few crevice cleaning tools.

August 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 12)
Gold Ores of the Delamar District, Nevada

Even as late as 1906, Delamar was second only to Tonopah and Goldfield in production outshining many better known areas. Since the first discoveries, more than 700,000 ounces of gold have been produced from the mines here.

August 2014 (Vol. 83, No. 12)
Ask the Experts

• What to prospect with on the Klamath River

September 2014 (Vol. 84, No. 1)
Ask the Experts

• Using drywashers to work desert gravels

September 2014 (Vol. 84, No. 1)
Designing and Evaluating Placer Gold Recovery Plants

For this article, I am focusing on industrial production plants that can handle 10 cubic yards per hour or more and would be fed by a loader or other heavy equipment...

September 2014 (Vol. 84, No. 1)
Ask the Experts

• Where would I find a map for the Western states on high silica sand deposits?

October 2014 (Vol. 84, No. 2)
Ask the Experts

• What's worth picking out of the pan besides gold?

October 2014 (Vol. 84, No. 2)
Ask the Experts

• Sweep speed and sensitivity settings for a GPX-4500

October 2014 (Vol. 84, No. 2)
Operation And Application Of Magnetometers

The technology used in these devices has advanced greatly in the last century. Many different types of physical effects are used to measure these magnetic fields and we will briefly look at some of these.

October 2014 (Vol. 84, No. 2)
What Equipment Do I Need?

Getting started in prospecting often requires the purchase of some equipment, but one can spend as little as $10 and be finding gold or spend thousands and also be finding gold—yet you will probably have many more opportunities and possibilities with more and better equipment. 

October 2014 (Vol. 84, No. 2)
Ask the Experts

How do sluicing and drywashing compare in effciency?

January 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 5)
Iron Minerals, Your Detector and Gold

It’s worthwhile for the prospector using a metal detector to know a little bit more about the association of iron and gold as well as how iron minerals affect your metal detector.

January 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 5)
Prospecting for Diamonds

Let’s take a look at diamonds and diamond mining and see how they form, how they are used beyond just jewelry, and what leads geologists to find diamond deposits.

January 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 5)
Ask the Experts

Q: How do metal detectors work around precious metal ore bodies?

February 2013 (Vol. 82. No. 6)
Ask the Experts

Q: What should be considered in a Joint Venture on a gold claim?

February 2013 (Vol. 82. No. 6)
Ask the Experts

Q: A few questions about diamonds...

February 2013 (Vol. 82. No. 6)
All About Garnets

I get a lot of questions from prospectors about garnets, their value and what they tell us about the geology of some types of mineral deposits. So I thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look at the lowly garnet and learn a bit more about it.

February 2013 (Vol. 82. No. 6)
What is a Valid Mineral Discovery?

One of the greatest opportunities afforded to the citizens of our country is the right to stake and hold mining claims on federal lands. One doesn’t need to be a lawyer to stake mining claims, but a little bit of knowledge about mining claim laws can be helpful.

February 2013 (Vol. 82. No. 6)
Ask the Experts

Q: A few questions about claim markers, gold hunter test kits, and videos....

March 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 7)
Ask the Experts

Q: Where is the best place to prospect for gold in Minnesota?

March 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 7)
Ask the Experts

Need some help putting together a BLM proposal.

March 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 7)
Ask the Experts

Using GIS systems to aid in mapping.

March 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 7)
Ask the Experts

Q: Can you please tell me about diamond fluorescense?

March 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 7)
Gold Deposits of Montana

Historically, Montana has been an important gold producer, in terms of both lodes and placers, and it still produces gold for the prospector today.

March 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 7)
Buying a Mining Claim: Questions to Ask

At one time or another, many miners will look seriously at purchasing a mining claim...Usually it’s a significant financial commitment, so how do you know if you are getting a good deal?

March 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 7)
Ask the Experts - processing plants that can extract rare earth metals

Q: Do you know of any processing plants that can extract rare earth metals?

April 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 8)
Ask the Experts - what does MDB&M stand for?

Q: What does MDB&M stand for?

April 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 8)
Ask the Experts - proper mining claim procedures

Q: Can you offer any information on proper mining claim procedures?

April 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 8)
Hard Rock Milling: A Matter of Scale

Most prospectors understand placer mining a lot better than hard rock mining and don’t realize the amount of work that goes into processing different types of hard rock ore.

April 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 8)
All About Quartz—Part I

One of the first minerals most prospectors learn to recognize is quartz, because, in the right circumstances, it can be an excellent indicator mineral for prospectors. Quartz is common, easy to identify, and is often associated with gold and other valuable metal deposits.

May 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 9)
Breaking Rock the Old School Way

Prospectors have many reasons why they might want to break rocks. These include dividing up a specimen too large to carry.

June 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 10)
The Birimian Greenstone Belts of West Africa

A few years ago I had a tremendous opportunity to visit Australia and hunt for gold there. The geology of the gold deposits there was somewhat different from what I was used to here in the US. I learned a lot about greenstone belt gold deposits while prospecting them in person, and it was an amazing trip.

June 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 10)
Ask the Experts

Q: Is there a special name for this silver and copper alloy?

July 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 11)
Ask the Experts

Q: How can I locate good places to prospect and meet like-minded individuals at the same time?

July 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 11)
The Birimian Greenstone Belts of West Africa

The country we were to visit was Burkina Faso, a small country about the same size of my home state of Nevada with about 10 times more people. The second day I was in Africa, we went out to the goldfields for the first time.

July 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 11)
All About Quartz—Part II

In our May 2013 issue, we took a look at the mineral quartz, a mineral very commonly associated with gold. However, gold is not the only reason prospectors are interested in quartz. Quartz can also be very valuable as a gemstone

July 2013 (Vol. 82, No. 11)
Ask the Experts

Q: Will my detector react to fine gold?

August 2013 ( Vol. 82, No. 12)
Ask the Experts

Q: Would a mining company be interested in this area for just the magnetite?

August 2013 ( Vol. 82, No. 12)
Ask the Experts

Q: How do I get gold out of a saturated solution of salt with nitric acid?

August 2013 ( Vol. 82, No. 12)
Ask the Experts

Q: What's the difference between a header box and a crash box?

August 2013 ( Vol. 82, No. 12)
The Essentials of Dry Washing

Most dry washers have a feed rate adjustment. It needs to be set so that the material flows evenly over the riffles and does not bury them.

August 2013 ( Vol. 82, No. 12)
Lower Prices Bring Layoffs

The extensive cost reductions now being put in place are not just a short-term reaction to the recent drop in gold prices...

August 2013 ( Vol. 82, No. 12)
Buyer Beware! Counterfeit Metal Detectors

When I was recently in West Africa, I got to see and play with my first, phony, Chinese knock-off metal detector.

August 2013 ( Vol. 82, No. 12)
Ask the Experts

Dust and dry washing

September 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 1)
Ask the Experts

Is Burkina Faso safe for prospecting?

September 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 1)
Ask the Experts

Recovering gold from pyrite ore

September 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 1)
Greenstone and Gold

Contacts, faults and zones of weak rock are all places that can act as a pipeline to convey gold-bearing fluids, leading to valuable deposits.

September 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 1)
Hunches, Choices and Guesses

When you approach a location, even if you've been there before, you should consider all the factors and conditions present at the site. This includes both natural and man-made factors.

September 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 1)
A Few Pointers About Cracks and Crevices

Because these crevices catch and hold gold so well, it's worthwhile to learn how they form, which ones are good for catching gold and which ones are not.

October 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 2)
Potential Gold at Old Hydraulic Sites

So why would a modern-day prospector want to learn about a method of mining that was banned by the courts more than a century ago?

October 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 2)
Ask the Experts

Treating ore with a plasma torch or shock waves?

November 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 3)
Are There Any Good Prospects Left?

This type of thinking will get you discouraged pretty fast, and soon all of your mining equipment will be found gathering dust in your garage.

November 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 3)
Using Sucker Guns to Find Gold

...if you have a good, rich spot, hand-operated systems can produce some decent gold.

November 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 3)
Ask the Experts

Market for scheelite concentrates?

December 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 4)
Ask the Experts

Why are there no maps of the so-called mining districts?

December 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 4)
Ask the Experts

Ore testing and other advice for starting up a mining operation.

December 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 4)
Sierra County Gold—Part I

...this county contained some of the richest placer ground found in all of California and still produces some pretty impressive finds to this day.

December 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 4)
The Amazing Mineral Tourmaline

It is a gemstone, and yet it is also closely associated with many types of metal ores. It's valuable itself but often points toward other valuable minerals—that is certainly something prospectors want to know more about!

December 2013 (Vol. 83, No. 4)
Good Assays and Bad

The high prices for gold and silver are exciting and certainly have revolutionized the prospecting and mining scene. New interest in gold and silver mining is springing up from every corner, from individual prospectors armed with gold pans to exploration and mining companies working to set up multimillion dollar commercial operations producing hundreds of thousands of ounces per year. The idea of getting riches from rocks is one that motivates a lot of folks all over the globe. It’s an exciting time, but this excitement brings out another side...

January 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 5)
NWMA Show

Every year the Northwest Mining Association holds an industry trade show. Many vendors are on hand, and there are many presentations given. With thousands of folks in attendance it’s not hard to get a pulse on what is happening in the mining industry.

January 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 5)
Ask the Experts - Old workings & tailings: What are my options?

Q: ...It’s a 2,000-acre property that was mined 100 years ago, still has the old workings, tailings, etc. I am looking to recover gold from the old waste/tailings... plus possibly strip mine some of it. What are my options?

February 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 6)
Ask the Experts - ...Worth further investigation?

Q: About 158,000 tons of ore is estimated to remain on the property. Worth further investigation?

February 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 6)
Ask the Experts - Processing sulfide ore without mercury or cyanide.

Q: ...Is there any way to process the ore without using mercury or cyanides...?

February 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 6)
Regarding "Good Assays and Bad"

Last month I wrote an article entitled “Good Assays and Bad,” which gathered a few comments.

February 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 6)
4 Keys to Successful Nugget Hunting

Lots of prospectors are trying out nugget detecting for the first time and finding out that it isn’t all that easy. In fact, in my opinion, metal detecting for nuggets is perhaps the most difficult form of prospecting that one can take on.

February 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 6)
A High Price to Pay

Over the last several months, starting from before I left for Australia, I’ve been working on getting all the 2011 paperwork done for my mining claims. I will admit that some parts of the paperwork I let go until only a week or two before the due date.

February 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 6)
The Basics of Geophysical Exploration

In developing a mineral property or mining claims, one of the first goals is to identify and quantify valuable deposits. The classic method of doing this is by drilling holes into the ground to sample what is below the surface. The problem is that one or two holes usually are not going to tell you a whole lot...

February 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 6)
Ask the Experts: Set up a small portable operation or send the ore to a custom mill?

Q: Set up a small portable operation or send the ore to a custom mill?

March 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 7)
Ask the Experts: Who manufactures the diagonal vibrating table?

Q: Who manufactures the diagonal vibrating table?

March 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 7)
Ask the Experts: Do "corners" need to be in place on the ground for a claim to be valid?

Q: Do "corners" need to be in place on the ground for a claim to be valid?

March 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 7)
Ask the Experts: Tantalite in an African nation -- is it worth pursuing?

Q: Tantalite in an African nation -- is it worth pursuing?

March 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 7)
How to Melt Your Own Gold

There are good and bad ways to melt gold. In this article, we’ll take a look at the right way to melt gold without losing any of the valuable metal.

March 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 7)
Salted Mining Properties—How to Properly Evaluate a Claim

Sometimes there are good mining claims on the market available to purchase, but there are also folks out there who are willing to take your money under false pretenses. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that these wolves in sheep’s clothing are few and far between.

March 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 7)
Ask the Experts

Q: Can a voltmeter be used to determine the type of metal/mineral present in soil?

April 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 8)
Ask the Experts

Q: Graphite spray to prevent sticking when using cast iron molds

April 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 8)
Ask the Experts

Q: ...where would you recommend selling class rings and other scrap gold?

April 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 8)
Today's MSHA

We all know that it was never Congress’ intent to regulate gold panners and other individual mine operators through MSHA. In fact, I believe the concept of owner-operated mines with no employees was so strange a concept to the lawmakers that they never even thought there would be a need for such an exemption.

April 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 8)
Ask the Experts: Ionizing mercury

Q: What exactly does "ionizing" mercury mean?

May 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 9)
Ask the Experts: gold per ton; improving assay method

Q: How much gold do I have per ton and how can I improve my assay method?

May 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 9)
Tucson Show Marketing

Normally we do not cover gem and mineral shows, but this one is a little different. The Tucson (Arizona) Gem and Mineral show is the sales source for so many small mining operations, I felt I had to address this show and its possibilities for the small miner.

May 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 9)
Critical Metals: Copper

From time to time I’ve been doing a series on critical metals and how important they are to our complex and technological society. This month we are going to take a look at copper, and how important that metal is to our modern lives.

May 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 9)
Iowa Hill District

For the last two years we’ve held a hands-on prospectors training session in the Iowa Hill district of California’s Mother Lode country as a part of our Gold Prospecting and Mining Summit event. Because of this, I thought it might be good to take a look at the history, geology and opportunities that the Iowa Hill district still offers to the individual prospector.

June 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 10)
Bigger and Better—Gold Prospecting & Mining Summit Recap

Our second year’s Summit, held over five days in mid-May, was even bigger and better than last year’s gathering. We had more vendors, more hands-on classes and a very full slate of lectures and presentations. Over 2,300 prospectors attended...

June 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 10)
Prospecting for Copper Ores—Part I

Copper is one of the metals that form the backbone of our modern civilization. Copper is an essential part of every computer, cell phone, automobile and household appliance.

June 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 10)
Prospecting for Copper Ores—Part II

Copper is a critically important metal that we need to run our modern electronic society, and the long term outlook for this metal is for a steady increase in price.

July 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 11)
Metallic Trash—Scourge of the Prospector

I had been busy representing the Prospecting and Mining Journal this spring, but prospecting season finally arrived and I’ve been out digging for nuggets—I’ve even found a few. I know a number of prospectors who are armed with new metal detectors and headed to the hills to look for that precious yellow stuff.

July 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 11)
Mine, Baby, Mine!

In March 2012, the Obama administration filed a World Trade Organization complaint against China. Now this is the election season, and taking potshots at China is an easy and natural thing for just about any politician to do. It’s almost as easy as offering support for motherhood and apple pie because virtually no one is going to oppose you. But this complaint was about mining, and so I thought it worthwhile...

July 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 11)
Ask the Experts: Something for everyone...

Q: Can you suggest some family and dog friendly vacation spots in California where I can also do some sniping?

August 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 12)
Ask the Experts: VMS ore

Q: Are there any mills that handle VMS ore?

August 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 12)
Ask the Experts: More suggestions for dealing with metallic trash....

Q: Thanks for the great article in the recent ICMJ [“Metallic Trash—Scourge of the Prospector,” July 2012]...

August 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 12)
Ask the Experts: various mining courses

Q: What classes should one take if planning on majoring in mining engineering or geology?

August 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 12)
Small-Scale Miners Rock the Mining World

With the high price of gold, there are many new prospectors out in the hills all over the United States, and while we would all prefer to be finding those larger nuggets, it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes all that is available is nothing more than a few small flakes. The truth is, new prospectors are sprouting up all across the planet—especially in the developing nations.

August 2012 (Vol. 81, No. 12)
Cold Alaskan Gold—Part I

Crowds may be great for football games or the Fourth of July, but not for prospecting. So, this summer, while thousands of gold seekers were heading to the coast of Alaska, I headed to a remote part of the Interior.

September 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 1)
The World of the Simple Gold Pan

There are so many, many different types of gold pans on the market that I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at the world of the simple gold pan.

September 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 1)
Ask the Experts

How does one determine who owns a mining claim?

October 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 2)
Ask the Experts

Good questions...from A to Z...

October 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 2)
Cold Alaskan Gold—Part II

I decided to focus my attention on some exposed bedrock that was along a little stream only about 100 yards from our cabins. My very first pan full of gravel showed several nice small flakes that were just big enough to be picked up with my fingers. That first pan showed that indeed there was some very nice gold to be had here...

October 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 2)
Ask the Experts

Where to process high grade gold ore containing sulfides?

November 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 3)
Ask the Experts

How do I set up a small placer operation?

November 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 3)
Ask the Experts

Heading for Australia to metal detect for gold. Tips? Suggestions?

November 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 3)
Ask the Experts

Questions regarding processing black sands

November 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 3)
The Portable XRF Gun

While there is no metal detector that will see only gold, there is a device that can reliably distinguish gold from lead, copper, iron or other metals. It is an X-Ray fluorescence tester, sometimes called an XRF gun.

November 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 3)
Using Google Earth and Other Maps

Last month, one of our readers requested an article regarding the possible use of Google Earth for prospecting research. It was a good idea, so here it is.

November 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 3)
Ask the Experts

Questions regarding patented and unpatented mining claims and the legal rights surrounding them.

December 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 4)
Ask the Experts

What is the best type of mat to use in a high banker set up?

December 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 4)
Detecting at the Sixteen to One Mine

A while back I was given a very special opportunity to take my metal detector to one of the most famous gold mines in all of California, the Original Sixteen to One mine in Alleghany.

December 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 4)
Mineral Deposit Trends: Real and Imaginary

One of the most important things prospectors do is work to figure out where to go prospecting. Along with understanding the basic geology and putting yourself in a favorable area, one of the things a prospector might consider in finding a location to search is the existence of mining belts also known as mineral deposit trends.

December 2012 (Vol. 82, No. 4)
Ask The Experts—Amalgamation

Q: Exactly how does amalgamation work? Does it “melt” the gold (or copper, or silver, etc.) and form an alloy? If one leaves a piece of gold in mercury, will the entire sample become an amalgam (combination) of gold and mercury? Or does it only affect the surface...

January 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 5)
China Gold Imports Increased 500% in 2010

It’s been no secret that the prices of gold and silver have been moving upward at a fast clip in recent months. Gold has soared 27 percent so far this year. There has not been a significant drop-off in production, so it’s been evident that an increase in demand has been a part of the force driving the price upward.

January 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 5)
The Downieville Gold District

Many locals are just waiting for California to allow dredging once more, especially with the current gold prices. There are still plenty of good opportunities for prospectors in this area, just as it has been for so many years.

January 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 5)
Successful Gold Prospecting

There are loads of new gold prospectors attracted by the current high prices, and so I thought it might be a great time to take a look at what makes some prospectors so much more successful than others.

January 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 5)
The Basics of Crushing and Milling Operations

In processing gold, silver and other valuable ores, the minerals containing the values, such as metallic gold, silver-bearing sulfides or other minerals, must be freed from the surrounding host rock before those valuable minerals can be captured.

February 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 6)
Ask The Experts—What minerals are magnetic? Can rare earth magnets capture platinum?

What minerals are magnetic? I have heard that super magnets (rare earth magnets) can capture platinum. True?

February 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 6)
Ask The Experts—Jet nozzle or suction nozzle? Which is best for my highbanker?

I have a highbanker, and I am considering adding a suction piece to make it a combo.

February 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 6)
Ask The Experts—Precious metals in water?

How can I determine if there are precious metals in the groundwater?

February 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 6)
Cyanide-Free Gold Separation

Some ores—mostly those with a high free gold content—are very amenable to gravity concentration. Well oxidized ores containing coarse gold are usually best for non-cyanide processes. Ores with significant sulfide content may require the...

February 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 6)
So You Want To Be A Full-Time Prospector?

The high price of gold and the poor economic conditions here in the US have created an unusual situation—a large number of folks are thinking seriously about getting into prospecting and digging for gold on a full-time basis.

March 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 7)
Ask The Experts—Do I still have rights to this mining claim?

Q: Do I still have rights to this mining claim?

March 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 7)
Ask The Experts—What is a "closed" claim?

Q: I’ve been using a computer program that lists both active and closed mining claims. Can you tell me the definition of a closed claim and why they would be shown?

March 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 7)
A New Look at Old Mines

Exploration companies are actively looking for properties with profitable potential, even if the ground was once cast off as too low in grade to be economically viable. This is especially true in states that are reasonably friendly toward...

April 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 8)
Mining Claims—What to Know Before You File

During the initial assessment year (the year of location), the claim maintenance fee must be paid at the time the notice of location is filed with the Bureau of Land Management. Failure to pay the claim maintenance fee will void the claim.

April 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 8)
Indicator Minerals for Gold & Silver

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the minerals that contain gold and silver, and how you as a prospector can identify them in the field.

April 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 8)
Ask The Experts—Where can I find information on the Abby mine?

Q: I would like to know where I can find information on the Abby mine located at Hildreth, CA.

May 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 9)
Ask The Experts—Is it possible for a mountain range to have good lode gold deposits and yet the area streams not carrying like deposits of gold?

Q: Is it possible for a mountain range to have good lode gold deposits and yet the area streams not carrying like deposits of gold? Or do the two go hand-in-hand?

May 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 9)
Ask The Experts—How do you amend a placer claim?

Q: How do you amend a placer claim?

May 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 9)
The Ups and Downs of Geologic Faults

Faults are fractures, breaks and broken zones in the Earth’s crust where one side of the break has moved relative to the other, and they come in many different varieties.

May 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 9)
The Disappearance of State Mining Departments

Unfortunately, mining is politically unpopular and support of the mining industry, no matter how many jobs it brings to a state, even in times of difficult financial need, is never popular among politicians of any stripe.

May 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 9)
Gold Prospecting and Mining Summit

We have tentatively scheduled a date for next year’s show and we want you to know it’s not going to be on Easter weekend!

June 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 10)
Hands-on at Iowa Hill

A number of crevices were still waiting to be cleaned out. A lot of the gold remaining in the pit was very fine sized, but a few small nuggets were also recovered.

June 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 10)
Can't We Just Do Something?

We know we lack critical minerals. We know the causes. We know the need. We have the knowledge we need right now. Why can’t we just take action and fix the problem?

July 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 11)
Ask The Experts—14-day camping limit

I was informed, in a less than friendly manner, that I can only camp on the claim for 14 days of every 90.

July 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 11)
Ask The Experts—Studies with summaries and conclusions please...

Q: ...A number of scientific studies have been done that concluded our level of dredging is “not” harmful to fish or habitat. I suggest that the Mining Journal list some of these specific studies with brief summaries and conclusions.

August 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 12)
Ask The Experts—What's the cheapest way to mine quartz for gold?

Q: I have a gold mine in Colorado. There was an assay done which stated [there is] a lot of quartz within the mine. What is the cheapest way to mine it for gold? I don’t have the money for mills, etc. Can I do it by hand (during summer holidays), and how would I get started?

August 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 12)
Critical Minerals: Gold

A few quick calculations show that approximately 11 tons of gold are lost each year just in the manufacture of new cell phones.

August 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 12)
Exploring and Mining for Uranium

For a time uranium was more popular with prospectors than gold, but this is no longer true, and it has been decades since it was common to see individuals armed with Geiger counters out in the field.

August 2011 (Vol. 80, No. 12)
Ask The Experts - Could I stake out a 20-acre claim with a waterway running through it just as I would a lode claim?

Q: Could I stake out a 20-acre claim with a waterway running through it just as I would a lode claim?

September 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 1)
Ask The Experts - Do I have any grandfathered rights that post FLPMA claim holders do not have?

Q: Does a claim holder of a claim that has been under constant, active status since 1932 have any rights that owners of newer claims do not have? In other words, do I have any grandfathered rights that post FLPMA claim holders do not have?

September 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 1)
Q&A With Detector Designer Dave Johnson

...it’s been a little known secret that one man was involved in designing many of the most respected very low frequency (VLF) nugget detectors on the market. Dave Johnson has designed gold-oriented detectors for Tesoro, Whites, Fisher and others for more than 25 years.

September 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 1)
Ask The Experts—Separating platinum from sands using bubbles

I am trying to find any information about using bubbles to separate platinum from sands and small particles. I think it has to have a surfactant in the process. Do you know of this bubble tech?

October 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 2)
Ask The Experts—Extraction of micro gold from black sands

I know big mining companies use cyanide and other leach systems to recover gold from ore. Is this the only economically feasible way to recover the values?

October 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 2)
Ask The Experts—Difference between a Geiger counter and scintillator

Would you explain the difference between a Geiger counter and a scintillator and how they operate in uranium prospecting?

October 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 2)
Then and Now: Is Gold Really Money?

The gold from 80 years ago still holds all of its value—it’s the Dollar that has been damaged.

October 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 2)
Prospecting Australia—Part I

The call of gold is a strong one and it has pulled men from every corner of the planet. That said, I guess it’s now my turn to chase far away gold.

October 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 2)
Ask The Experts—Compensation for closed mining claim?

Q: I have a gold claim that the BLM just closed. Should I get compensation for the value of the claim?

November 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 3)
Ask The Experts—Inconsistent fire assays

Q: ...He consistently comes up with values much higher on the same ore samples.

November 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 3)
Gold From Cemented Gravels

The truth is that cemented gravels are really not all that complex. There is no mystery of how gold grew there or somehow wormed its way into these solid gravels.

November 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 3)
Prospecting Australia—Part II: There and Back Again

Steve got his first nugget within minutes of turning on his metal detector. It only took me about an hour to find my first piece.

November 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 3)
Ask the Experts—Looking up mining claims on the Internet

Q: Is there an Internet source ... that one can access to review which claims and at which location are the claims that BLM administrators close each year?

December 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 4)
Ask the Experts—Access to mining claim across private land

December 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 4)
Ask the Experts—Best way to identify calaverite and sylvanite

December 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 4)
Ask the Experts—How do you determine how far a piece of gold has traveled in a stream?

December 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 4)
Prospecting Australia—Part III Anatomy of a Nugget Patch in Western Australia

One of the most memorable nuggets I found in Australia was detected on the very last day that I was out prospecting. I was going along swinging my coil and I came across a blaring loud signal that almost blew my ears off.

December 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 4)
Testing Ores for Free Gold

I get a number of questions from people about testing and treating hard rock ores. The simplest way, but also an expensive one, is to just have an assay test done by an independent assay firm. As an alternative...

December 2011 (Vol. 81, No. 4)
Prospecting for Rare Earth Metals

Rare earth metals are critically important to many forms of modern technology, including most green energy saving applications, computers, televisions, and a number of military defense systems.

January 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 5)
California's Rich Pocket Mines

The seven geologic indicators... are important concepts for prospectors to focus on when searching for gold pockets.

February 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 6)
Beach Mining for Gold

Commonly these layers contain small particles of gold and platinum, and in places where they are sufficiently concentrated, the metallic particles are abundant enough to be extracted profitably.

March 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 7)
Using A Trommel For Placer Processing

The behavior of a trommel is dependent on how it is designed and set up. Important design characteristics include feed rates, screen perforation sizes, cylinder size, rotation speed and incline.

April 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 8)
Nevada Creates Mining Claim Tax to Balance Budget

The loss of exploration monies that provide jobs and eventually lead to new mines may well cost the state far more in the long run than the new fees will raise.

April 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 8)
Ask The Experts: How to handle gold in cyanide; how to sample a platinum deposit

Is there a method which can be done safely to get the metals to drop out of the cyanide solution? What is the best way to learn how to evaluate the potential of this serpentine platinum deposit potential?

May 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 9)
Oregon Requires Permit for Hand Sluicing

At the time of this writing the draft permit for dredging in Oregon, which may also include small-scale operations like hand sluicing or possibly even panning, was not available for public comment or review.

May 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 9)
American Manganese

Exploration geologists looking for strategic metals projects may find open ground in some of the old historic manganese mine areas as manganese has been largely overlooked as an exploration target for many decades.

May 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 9)
Update on Oregon, Idaho and California Suction Dredge Permits

As expected, the State of Oregon has proposed a new general National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit that is considerably more restrictive than the one that is currently in effect

June 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 10)
How Much Gold Is In My Gold-Quartz Specimen?

The method is based on the fact that gold is much denser than quartz, and the more gold that is present in a specimen, the higher the density of the piece will be as a whole.

June 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 10)
Ask The Experts: Can you help me identify these items?

Q: Can you help me identify these items?

June 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 10)
Getting The Most Value From Your Gold-Quartz Specimens

Just simply crushing up all your specimens for their gold content may be a serious waste of potential cash.

June 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 10)
When Gold Moves, Placers Form

What it takes to move gold is turbulent, fast-moving water. Normally the water is heavy with clay and all sorts of sentiments that have been ripped up from the bed of the river or carried down from the tributaries above.

July 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 11)
Commercial Placer Mining With Jigs

During the upward stroke, water is pushed up through the shot layer causing it to open up and lifting the gravel particles above. The heavier particles settle faster based on Stokes law, and move down into the shot bed layer, while the lighter...

August 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 12)
Ask The Experts: Bench Top Crushers

... there was a picture of a small rock crusher you have, and I was wondering if it’s one that is still available...

August 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 12)
How to Properly Ground Balance to Find the Most Gold

Many new detector operators and even some experienced ones don’t pay enough attention to keeping their detectors in proper balance. The result is false targets as well as incessant chirping and chatter.

August 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 12)
How California Became the Golden State

On the morning of the 19th of January, 1848, Marshall went out to examine the cut and inspect the progress that had been made overnight.

August 2010 (Vol. 79, No. 12)
Prospecting Old Tertiary Channels

The potential exists for small-scale placer mining in these pits using a trommel and sluice box or other similar types of equipment.

September 2010 (Vol. 80, No. 1)
Gold & Silver of the Comstock Lode

There still remains some material in place along the lode that could be mined at high gold and silver prices.

September 2010 (Vol. 80, No. 1)
Nevada Claim Holders Form Coalition

Unlike producing mines, exploration companies and claim holders owning non-producing claims are not reaping a windfall of increased profits from the recent high prices for precious metals and other raw materials.

October 2010 (Vol. 80, No. 2)
Drywashing and Detecting for Gold

It’s important to pay attention to where you dig, because just like any placer, the gold in dry placers is concentrated in certain spots. This is especially true when you are testing and trying to determine the potential of a placer area. 

October 2010 (Vol. 80, No. 2)
Recent Prospecting in Plumas County

Plumas has been historically rich in gold because of its favorable geology. The Melones Fault trends north-south through the county and many rich gold-bearing districts lie along its course.

November 2010 (Vol. 80, No. 3)
Prospecting for Nickel Deposits

The periodic exploration efforts for nickel during periods of high prices have been sporadic and incomplete. There is a role for the prospector and geologist in searching laterites potentially rich in nickel and mafic igneous bodies that may be rich in nickel.

November 2010 (Vol. 80, No. 3)
Ask The Experts—Iridium

Q: I believe I have found a deposit that contains iridium. What can you tell me about iridium? Are there any tests I can do in the field to confirm it is iridium? How much is iridium worth? Where can I get it assayed? Can I refine it myself?

December 2010 (Vol. 80, No. 4)
Ask The Experts—Highbanker legal in CA?; Best place to sell raw gold?

Q: If a high banker is outfitted with a suction hose, is it considered a dredge in CA even if it is sitting on the ground? Also, how do I find the best places to sell raw gold (flour, pickers, nuggets, gold in quartz, etc.)?

December 2010 (Vol. 80, No. 4)
Ask The Experts—Using classifiers

Q: I would like to know how to use a classifier when I dump my gravel into my sluice box. I would also like to know what sizes classifiers come in. I know that they are in sizes like -3/4. What does the “minus” in the size mean? Thanks for any help you can give me.

December 2010 (Vol. 80, No. 4)
Reading A River: Finding The Paystreaks—Part II

How to read a river for gold deposits.How to read a river to find gold. In this second of a two-part series, we will take a look at how a river’s grade affects the formation of paystreaks, and how to go about reading a river to see the various catches and parts of a stream where...

January 2009 (Vol. 78, No. 5)
Ask The Experts—Where to Take Sulfide Ore for Processing

Q: I have a high grade silver-copper vein. In my area of NE Washington, hundreds of these veins were mined and shipped ore years ago. The vein is not a problem to mine, the problem is whom do I sell the sulfide ore to these days?...

January 2009 (Vol. 78, No. 5)
Ask The Experts—Where Would The Most Gold Tend To Be In This Deposit?

Q: I live in SW Oregon, Gold Beach... I am getting small gold from this paleoplacer. Where would the most gold tend to be, in the sediment holding the pebbles together or in certain...rocks such as quartz breccia in the conglomerate?

January 2009 (Vol. 78, No. 5)
The St. Louis Gold District

Map of the St. Louis Gold Mining District.In 1848 and 1849, miners had pushed all through the western Sierra foothills making many fantastic gold discoveries. The far north end of California’s Mother Lode country, however, had received little exploration.

February 2009 (Vol. 78, No. 6)
Ask The Experts—What Should I Do Next With This Quartz Vein?

5-foot quartz vein.I don’t know what to do next. Should I get an assay of the quartz? Can you recommend someone? Should I somehow crush the rock & search for a gold vein? Am I just wasting my time?

March 2009 (Vol. 78, No. 7)
Prospecting for Commercial-Scale Gold Deposits

While most individual prospectors out there are searching for placer gold, there is a different type of prospecting being done by a handful of individuals—the search for commercially viable large-scale gold and silver deposits.

March 2009 (Vol. 78, No. 7)
Detecting Invisible Gold

Olinghouse gold specimen.How to find gold with a metal detector: The technology certainly has improved quite a bit over the years, so when these owners are testing various types of gold on their machines and they find that some gold responds poorly or not at all...

April 2009 (Vol. 78, No. 8)
Allied Nevada Reactivates Hycroft Mine

Hycroft MineBecause the gold here is not coarse enough to be recovered in a pan, the deposit was not recognized as holding any significant potential for precious metals until 1908...

May 2009 (Vol. 78, No. 9)
How to Utilize Assays and Evaluate Results

Assay furnace - photo courtesy Inspectorate AmericaAsk the lab manager how your ores will be tested, and ask to see the equipment that will be used. If you are told it’s a secret that can’t be explained, you need another assayer.

June 2009 (Vol. 78, No. 10)
How to Complete Assessment Work and Claim Maintenance

To put yourself in the best position you need to be doing all your assessment work properly and filing the necessary paperwork in a timely manner. Most prospectors don’t know a lot about the details of doing assessment work...

July 2009 (Vol. 78, No. 11)
Finding Gold With Copper and Turquoise

The signs of copper, which the prospector most commonly sees in the field in outcrops and on the surface, are secondary minerals caused by the action of air and water on the original copper-bearing sulfides that were deposited deep...

August 2009 (Vol. 78, No. 12)
Bucket Line Dredges

For many years, mechanical mining in waterways was seen as an impossibility by miners, especially in the Western US. The few dredges that had been tried at various locations were generally built on designs similar to those that had been used in harbor excavation work, but it was found that they were...

September 2009 (Vol. 79, No. 1)
The Tonopah Gold and Silver District

The discovery of the Tonopah District by Jim Butler in May, 1900, was by far the most important event of its time, just as the discovery of the Comstock was the most important event in the Nevada’s earlier history.

October 2009 (Vol. 79, No. 2)
Dredging Alternative: High Banking

The hope was that a bit of the gold from that famous old pocket mine had worked its way down the slope of the hill and into the gravels Pat and his crew were planning to mine.

October 2009 (Vol. 79, No. 2)
Molycorp Minerals Reopens Mountain Pass Mine

During the great uranium rush of the late 1940s, thousands of prospectors spread out all over the western United States sampling rock outcrops for traces of radioactivity.

November 2009 (Vol 79, No. 3)
Where to Prospect for Gold in Colorado

Colorado is one of the more productive states when it comes to gold, ranking third, behind Nevada and California. The majority of the gold deposits are confined to a northeast-trending belt known as the Colorado Mineral Belt...

December 2009 (Vol. 79, No. 4)
A Modern Gold Rush In Sudan

A couple of months ago, folks on the US and Aussie online gold forums started noticing that GP4500 detectors (Minelab’s top of the line gold unit) were selling used for prices significantly more than they cost new!

December 2009 (Vol. 79, No. 4)
New Study of the Formation of Nuggets—Part II

Last month we took a look at the origins of coarse gold nuggets and the results of some new science about how they form. This new information pointed out that many nuggets once thought to be of secondary origin are formed under hot conditions...

January 2008 (Vol.77, No. 5)
Let’s Go Crevicing for Gold

People have been looking for gold in every manner possible since the big gold boom in 1849, so what chance do we have of getting anything in today’s world where literally thousands of prospectors and fortune seekers have been before us?

January 2008 (Vol.77, No. 5)
Gold Deposits of North Carolina

North Carolina was the site of the first well documented discovery of gold in the United States, which occurred in 1799. Not many years later, when the importance of this find was realized, gold miners came to seek their fortunes.

February 2008 (Vol. 77, No. 6)
How to Get Started as a Gold Prospector

The surging price of gold is attracting a whole new generation of prospectors who are looking to find a bit of natural gold out in the hills. It’s certainly a lot different than it was six or eight years ago when gold was stuck below $300 per ounce.

February 2008 (Vol. 77, No. 6)
Conducting Research To Find New Gold Deposits

...this time of year the days are short, the temperatures cold and the weather reliably poor. That’s why the middle of winter is the best time for me to be doing research to find new gold deposits and places to explore after the weather warms and...

March 2008 (Vol.77, No. 7)
The Carson City Mint

In the early 1860s, the rich mines of Virginia City and the surrounding area were pouring forth millions of dollars in gold and silver each year. Additional mines located at White Pine, Aurora, Humboldt and other Nevada locations were also yielding millions in gold and silver.

March 2008 (Vol.77, No. 7)
Assembling A First Class Mining Property

In the old days, each miner staked his claim, and in lode prospecting, the end result was often that one mining company grew up out of each of those individual claims and several different mining companies would often be working on...

April 2008 (Vol. 77, No. 8)
Ask the Experts—Why doesn't the 1872 Mining Law apply to all 50 states?

Q: In the Feb 2008 Mining Journal you ran an article, “Gold Deposits of North Carolina,” by Chris Ralph. The article states that the 1872 Mining Law does not apply in North Carolina and in fact only has merit in 19 of the 50 states. Can you explain how that could happen?

May 2008 (Vol. 77, No. 9)
Understanding Geologic Deposit Models

Geologists have long noted the similarities of certain types of mineral deposits all across the globe. Similar minerals, similar country rocks, and similar grades of mineralization may occur in several different parts of the world.

May 2008 (Vol. 77, No. 9)
Choosing The Right Detector Coil

Every machine has its own adjustments and settings, but one of the most important ways to increase the capabilities of whatever detector you own is through the use of accessory coils.

June 2008 (Vol. 77, No. 10)
Gold Deposits of Georgia

The first actual discovery of gold made on the lands of what is now the State of Georgia is shrouded in the mist of history.

June 2008 (Vol. 77, No. 10)
Natural Crystalline Gold

The beauty of natural gold is widely appreciated by both prospectors and mineral collectors, but the pinnacle of beautiful natural gold specimens are the spectacular crystalline formations.

July 2008 (Vol. 77, No. 11)
Tools of the Modern Prospector: The GPS

GPS provides the prospector a precise way of knowing just where something (like a mine) is located. There are many thousands of lost mine stories—some real, and some made up. The use of a GPS could well have made the difference to accurately record their location.

July 2008 (Vol. 77, No. 11)
Building A Mine—Dust Devil Sunstones

sunstones from the Dust Devil Mine in OregonEstablishing a gemstone mine, like any other mining operation, is a difficult proposition. This is especially true if you are starting out from scratch without loads of money to get the business going.

August 2008 (Vol. 77, No. 12)
John Fremont and the Gold Mines of Las Mariposas

John Frémont was a man whose luck regularly swung from one extreme to another. At times he seemed to be the luckiest man on earth, yet he sometimes made bad decisions that got him into a considerable amount of trouble.

August 2008 (Vol. 77, No. 12)
Ask The Experts—How do I work this large quartz vein?

Q: I found a large quartz vein. I’m interested in mining this myself. Can you point me to a good book or other source on lode mining?

September 2008 (Vol. 78, No. 1)
Cashing In Your Gold: Working With A Refiner

Many miners who have hoarded their gold for years are now tempted by higher prices. Several friends with multiple pound nugget collections have sold them recently for cash.

September 2008 (Vol. 78, No. 1)
Gold Deposits Of South Carolina

Gold was first discovered in South Carolina in 1827 in placer deposits near the Haile Mine, which later became the largest gold producer in the southeastern states. The Carolina belt is the most extensive and most productive...

September 2008 (Vol. 78, No. 1)
Finding Paystreak Gold With A Metal Detector

There is no question metal detectors can be used to find paystreaks, but the method I am going to describe may not be exactly the procedure some prospectors would expect.

October 2008 (Vol. 78, No. 2)
The Trail of ‘98

On June 16, 1897, the steamer Excelsior cruised into San Francisco Bay, completing its long voyage from Alaska. While a ship arriving from the far north was not a particularly unusual event, this one heralded news of something truly big.

October 2008 (Vol. 78, No. 2)
Beyond The End of The Road

Dale's research of known gold producing districts in southern California and his knowledge of metal detecting produced these large gold-quartz specimens. This certainly would make any trip a very good one, but it turned out to be just the...

November 2008 (Vol. 78, No. 3)
Bullion River's French Gulch Gold Mine

A gold button from Bullion River's French Gulch gold mineBullion River’s high-grade gold mine at French Gulch, near Redding, California, may be in some ways the last of the Mohicans, or perhaps it is the first of the great revival, but for the near term it is probably destined to be a little bit of both.

December 2008 (Vol. 78, No. 4)
Reading A River: Finding The Paystreaks—Part I

Gold will be concentrated behind large boulders like this one during flooding or high water.How to read a river to find gold: The exact point where you choose to dig for gold makes a big difference because the placer gold deposits formed in rivers and streams are anything but uniform—some parts are rich in gold...

December 2008 (Vol. 78, No. 4)
Researching and Staking Mining Claims—Part II

Owning a mining claim is one of the greatest opportunities still available to American citizens. In last month’s article, we covered the basics of researching public lands and determining if the spot is open to claim.

January 2007 (Vol. 76, No. 5)
Bum Luck

Every prospector has streaks of bum luck—times when you can’t seem to find much, if anything. This is less true for folks who dry wash or dredge, but electronic prospecting and detecting is especially prone to dry streaks. It’s just the nature of the beast.

February 2007 (Vol. 76, No.6)
Mining Stocks—Things to Consider Before You Invest

With the strong gold and silver prices we have had for the last couple years, exploration for gold and silver is on the rise around the world. Junior (smaller) exploration firms are out sampling, trenching and drilling their properties.

March 2007 (Vol. 76, No. 7)
Platinum Placers and Nuggets

Sometimes a placer miner will find small bits and nuggets of metal associated with gold and other heavy minerals in his concentrates, which exhibits a silver-gray color rather than the normal tones of gold.

April 2007 (Vol. 76, No.8)
Recovering Values from Black Sands

Every placer miner has to deal with it in one form or another, and some locations have it far worse than others, but nearly every placer has at least some of it: black sand. It collects in our concentrates and gets in the way of recovering our fine gold.

May 2007 (Vol.76, No.9)
Sulfides, Selenides and Tellurides

The early day miners feared it, and it happened a lot more often than they would have liked: the easily worked rich surface ores they discovered gave way as they mined downward to a vein full of sulfides, base metals and other nasty, rebellious and...

June 2007 (Vol.76, No.10)
The Basics of Small-Scale Heap Leaching with Cyanide Part I—History, Suitablility and Permitting

Hardrock mining is usually done on a large scale, and although a few small-scale hardrock operations still exist, it’s not an easy operation to start up and run profitably.

July 2007 (Vol. 76, No. 11)
The Basics of Small-Scale Heap Leaching with Cyanide

In last month’s article I talked a bit about opportunities for heap leaching small hardrock deposits. This month I’m going to talk about the basics of putting together a heap leach project, including building the pad and leaching the ore.

August 2007 (Vol. 76, No. 12)
Locating a New Nugget Patch

Finding a new spot that is rich in gold, but has not already been exploited by other metal detector operators, is a goal of many prospectors. Sometimes it takes a lot of looking and research to find such a place because a lot of prospectors are out there...

September 2007 (Vol. 77, No. 1)
Prospecting for Hardrock Platinum, Nickel & Copper Deposits

Recent sharp price increases for copper, nickel and platinum group metals (PGMs) have greatly stimulated exploration for these metals, and individual prospectors have made important discoveries of new deposits.

October 2007 (Vol. 77, No. 2)
New Study on the Formation of Nuggets—Part I

Geologists have long realized that the vast majority of gold in typical quartz veins is in the tiny, dust-size range, a lot smaller than the gold nuggets found by placer miners. This is common worldwide in many, many gold districts.

December 2007 (Vol 77, No. 4)
Small-Scale Mining with a Dozer and Detectors

Even the best of metal detectors are only capable of seeing a certain distance down into the sand, gravel and rock of a placer deposit. Once all the gold that can be reasonably seen by a metal detector has been harvested, it can be difficult to...

December 2007 (Vol 77, No. 4)
Basic Geology for the Independent Miner—Part I Recognizing and Understanding Minerals

Many individual prospectors would like to know a little more about the geology of gold deposits. There is no doubt that in the final analysis, no matter how well you operate your equipment, unless you can find the places where gold is...

January 2006 (Vol. 75, No. 5)
Basic Geology for the Independent Miner—Part II Recognizing and Understanding Rock Formations (Petrology)

Rocks are an aggregate formed from the accumulation of minerals. Minerals form under various conditions, and when the minerals come together in mass, they form rocks.

February 2006 (Vol. 75, No. 6)
Basic Geology for the Independent Miner—Part III Understanding Plate Tectonics, Volcanism and Mountain Building

The formation of gold, silver and many other types of deposits depends on a natural segregation of the elements from the earth, so that gold or silver (and other minerals) becomes enriched enough to form a valuable ore.

March 2006 (Vol. 75, No 7)
Basic Geology for the Independent Miner—Part IV Geology of Hardrock Gold Deposits

Geologic processes can either concentrate or disperse gold and other elements from adjacent rocks. It is the results of the concentration processes that the prospector is most interested in.

April 2006 (Vol. 75, No. 8)
The Rich Hill Outing

Out in the western gold country, the traffic of electronic prospectors on the hills appears to be increasing at a rapid rate. While a lot of factors are contributing to this, probably the biggest force attracting these new folks is the continuing...

April 2006 (Vol. 75, No. 8)
Basic Geology for the Independent Miner—Part V Geology of Hardrock Gold Deposits

In this installment we will finish up our discussion of how primary hardrock gold deposits form. Understanding how rock alteration works can lead to some good ideas for exploring around old mining districts.

May 2006 (Vol. 75, No. 9)
Basic Geology for the Independent Miner—Part VI Geology of Placer Gold Deposits

Placer deposits are the focus of many small-scale prospectors, as they can be worked with comparatively inexpensive equipment. In this conclusion of a six-part series, we will take a look at the geology and formation of placer deposits...

June 2006 (Vol. 75, No. 10)
Detecting at Old Hydraulic Mines

I finally got out recently for my first full, long weekend prospecting trip of the year. Normally I would have been out much sooner, but we had a real late spring in the Sierra Nevada this year with lots of late rain and snow continuing through all...

July 2006 (Vol. 75, No. 11)
Prospecting at Moore Creek

In recent years there has been something of a new form of tourism growing in Alaska. Several historically productive gold mines have created facilities to bring in prospectors and tourists to see and experience the remote gold...

August 2006 (Vol. 75, No. 12)
The Plumas Eureka District

During any great gold rush, tales of fantastic finds abound—some are real and some are not. In the mother lode country of California, in the fall of 1850, there were a lot of fantastic finds and probably the wildest tale of that time was the story of a lake surrounded...

October 2006 (Vol. 76, No. 2)
Basic Sniping: Prospecting With a Pan & Simple Hand Tools

There’s a lot of really great prospecting equipment on the market right now, and I have to admit I’ve spent my share of money over the years investing in dredges, drywashers, metal detectors and the like. But a lot of new folks just getting into...

November 2006 (Vol. 76, No. 3)
Researching and Staking Mining Claims

One of the greatest opportunities still available to Americans is the opportunity to stake and own your own mining claim. Much of the Western US consists of lands that are open to claim by any US citizen...

December 2006 (Vol. 76, No. 4)
The Art of Finding Coarse Gold Part II—Pocket Hunting for Residual Placers

It is a fact that many of the well-known placer districts of the Western US have small veins that contain sparse pockets of coarse gold as their source. This is the main reason why many rich placer districts have seen little or no hard rock mining...

January 2005 (Vol. 74, No. 5)
The Art of Finding Coarse Gold—Part III

In the first part of this article, we took a look at the special geology required to form coarse gold. In the second part, we looked at field examples of coarse gold occurrences and the geology of residual placers.

February 2005 (Vol. 74, No. 6)
The Art of Finding Coarse Gold Part IV—Recovery of Coarse Gold From Alluvial Placers

This last installment in the series will look at methods for finding and recovering coarse gold from alluvial (river and stream) placer environments. Unlike the residual and eluvial placers that we have considered previously, the force of flowing...

March 2005 (Vol. 74, No. 7)
Turquoise Mining—Labor Intensive, But Worthwhile

For many years, the US had a historical tradition of small-scale mining. Individuals or small groups of miners would spend part of the year working the higher-grade sections of old mines and ship the high-grade ore to smelters or...

June 2005 (Vol. 74, No. 10)
Picks & Pans: Perseverance Pays Off

Tony Kelly and Ken Laster have dredged for gold in the Motherlode area for a number of years, and they decided to team up in 2004 and work together with Ken’s new 4-inch dredge.

September 2005 (Vol. 75, No. 1)
Recovering Fine Gold: Getting the Most from Your Sluice Box

The sluice box is probably the most common gold recovery device after the pan. For centuries, the sluice has been the world’s most popular device for medium to large-scale primary placer gold recovery.

October 2005 (Vol. 75, No. 2)
Sam, the Tenderfoot Prospector

There were many thousands of tenderfoot, greenhorn prospectors that came out west in the 1860s and 70s. Some came to make their fortunes; some came to flee other problems back east; and some just came for the adventure. Probably every one had a tale to tell, but one of these adventurous individuals was a young man named Sam, and this is his true story.

November 2005 (Vol. 75, No. 3)
Understanding Sampling Techniques

There are a lot of differences between the operations of successful mining companies and ones that become financial failures, but one of the consistent key differences between them is their sampling programs.

December 2005 (Vol. 75, No. 4)
The Joy of Prospecting

I have been prospecting and mining for gold, both as a hobby and as an occupation, for nearly 30 years. From the deep green forests to the rolling sagebrush hills, few people see as much of America’s wide-open spaces as I do.

February 2004 (Vol. 73, No. 6)
Understanding Hard Rock Mining: Terms and Methods—Part I

While most small-scale prospectors and miners focus their energies on placer deposits, most large mining companies put their efforts primarily into hard rock mining. Although many miners may see these as two separate worlds that can never meet, a better understanding of hard rock mining for small operators can be very helpful in many ways.

June 2004 (Vol. 73, No. 10)
Understanding Hard Rock Mining: Terms and Methods—Part II

A better understanding of hard rock mining methods and knowing a little about how these mines work can help the individual prospector to understand reports and stories about both modern and historic mine operations.

July 2004 (Vol. 73, No. 11)
Determining the Amount of Gold in a Quartz Specimen

Many prospectors who find specimens of rich quartz with visible gold often wonder about the gold content of their specimens. Pieces with significant visible gold can sometimes be found at hard rock mines, by prospecting...

November 2004 (Vol. 74, No. 3)
The Art of Finding Coarse Gold Part I—The Geology of Coarse Gold Formation

Recovering large, coarse gold nuggets is a very exciting experience, and the quest for large gold is often the “holy grail” of the independent prospector, no matter which type of equipment is used. Hefty, good-sized gold nuggets are...

December 2004 (Vol. 74, No. 4)
Picks & Pans: Dredging and Detecting in Sierra City

Every year for the past several years I have taken a prospecting trip to Sierra City, California, to dredge on a friend’s claim. Sierra City is a historic gold rush town of a little more than 200 persons. Known mostly for its rich lode mines, it also had...

October 2003 (Vol. 73, No. 2)
Picks & Pans: Detecting in Northern Nevada

One of the newest opportunities available to the individual prospector is the exchange of information over the Internet. A number of websites and forums dedicated to prospecting for gold have sprung up in recent years.

December 2003 (Vol. 73, No. 4)